Photo: Philip Macias
Justin Klump makes big-hearted folk-pop, filling his songs with a mix of acoustic guitars, sharp hooks and lightly layered arrangements. It's a sound he's been carving for years, ever since the Nashville resident kicked off his career in Vancouver, Washington. Since then, Klump has chased down success on his own terms, building up a string of accolades — including a Top 10 debut on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart, a nationwide fanbase, and well-deserved comparisons to songwriters like James Taylor and Damien Rice — with his own self-released albums, promoted without the help of a record label or a booking agent.
On his newest album, Justin Klump, he shines a light on the everyday struggle of a life spent both on- and offstage. Songs like "Keep On, Keepin’ On" and "The Night is Young" are optimistic tributes to perseverance in the face of challenge, and "Paper Plane" finds Klump — who's become both a husband and a father since his debut album — promising to meet his growing responsibilities with a smile, rather than a grimace. "Pictures and Stains" spins a similar story, taking an honest look at the joys and challenges that come with every marriage. The songs on Justin Klump are often quite personal, but there's a universal element to them, as well. After all, who hasn't loved? Who hasn't lost? Klump sings about it all, gluing everything together with the strum of his guitar and the punch and plea of his voice.
A road warrior who usually performs his shows alone, Klump gets a little help from his friends this time around, teaming up with producer Andy Hunt to decorate the new songs with arrangements built for the coffeehouse one minute and the rock club the next. At the center of every track, though, are two core ingredients: melody and message. Strip away those arrangements, and the songs still stand proudly.
Already years into his career, Klump redefines his sound and approach with his new album. That's why he chose to simply call it Justin Klump, "It's my first full length since moving to Nashville," he explains, "and it almost feels like a reintroduction. I've rededicated myself to writing the best songs possible, and using the lyrics as the driving force. I'm writing about my own life, in a way that others can hopefully relate to, as well. It just felt right to self title it."
On the horizon are more records, more songs, more intimate shows from a performer whose touring has taken him from the Aladdin Theater in Portland to the Living Room in New York, opening up for everyone from Matt Nathanson to Tyrone Wells along the way. Justin Klump is the latest pit-stop in an ongoing journey to somewhere bigger and better, and Klump — a self-made songwriter — has never sounded more driven.
Sticks & Stones
Life. Longing. Love.
Thousand Mile Dream
Something for September